Internationalizing Your Brand through Franchising – Are you Ready?

You started your own business and it was an exciting affair, especially since, nothing could beat the thrill of being your own boss. Over time you have then set the systems in place, figured out what works and what doesn’t and you have grown your business locally. Now you think this is the right time to take your business to the international shores. Franchising your brand can help you achieve a larger brand footprint.

Some Benefits of Franchising Internationally:
– Builds market share.
– Increases revenue channels.
– Grows brand equity, Brand reputation and recognition.
– Lowers risk through diversification in new countries.
– Balances out temporary losses locally with international earnings.
– Decreases production costs by moving certain operations to countries where labour and materials are cheaper.

Getting started:
Before you franchise internationally, do ensure you are prepared with the following:

1. Strong Brand Identity: At the centre of any good franchise operation is the brand’s identity. Franchisors must develop the brand well enough to gain international market recognition because people buy a product or a service depending on how much they can relate to it. There must also be a proven track record of the brand’s success in the local market.

2. Clear Sales Proposition: You must ensure that your business has a clear and easily communicated sales proposition before you start to look for franchisees. Price, quality, service, logistics, operations and anything else that you want to include in the Franchise offering needs to be clear in your franchise marketing collateral.

3. Well Documented Operations: You know that you are ready when you have clear, reliable and documented operations processes for creating or delivering your service of product.

4. Replicable Business Model: Your company must already be making decisions and be implementing activities consistently based on agreed methods of business process management. This is important because in the end franchisees are not buying your product or service but they are buying a process by which your brand can be run.

5. Adaptability: International markets often put the franchisor out of his or her comfort zone. The franchisor must be flexible enough to adapt to the nuances of the new markets. Not everything that worked in your local marked can be applied to international markets.

6. Strong Franchise Management System: Finding a franchisee, whilst is important, is less vital to the success of a franchise’s success than their ability to manage their franchisees. Using a Franchise management platform can simplify many repetitive tasks and ensuring processes are automated also allows for smart contract agreements to be enforced.

Few Words of Caution:
1. Avoid the lure of short term profit: Take your time and plan on long term investment in the new international markets that you want to be in. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was a successful international brand expansion. Lasting business relationships and credibility in international markets are built over time.

2. Misjudging new markets: Even if your brand is doing exceptionally well locally, you need to see whether the products or services that you are giving through your business will fill a demand in international markets.

For franchisors who want to grow internationally, it is recommended that you take the support and services of franchise experts to help you exploit the intellectual property that resides in your business. Develop customized growth strategies for your business to help you successfully franchise and sustain your international brand growth.

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About the Author:
Hsien Naidu has over 20 years of experience in Franchising, Marketing, Branding and Intellectual Property Management across various industries including Food & Beverage, Education, Retail and Lifestyle as well as services. She is a Senior Practicing Management Consultant, a certified Intellectual Property Management Consultant, a Certified Franchise Executive and is presently the Director of Astreem Consulting Pte Ltd.

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